“The guys at the local Harley shop call me ‘Pat Rod.’” So states Patrick Mailloux of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, owner of this black-and-flamed Harley V-Rod bagger. “And why is that, Mr. Mailloux, er, Pat Rod?” we ask.
“Because I own a lot of V-Rods,” replies Pat with an impish smile. At last count, there were nine VRSC-based platforms in his North Country garage, with this slammed-and-bagged beauty being one of two that qualify as certifiably perfect cross-country Mailloux haulers.
Suffice to say, Pat’s enthusiasm for Harley’s liquid-cooled power cruiser has helped the US balance of trade in the form of bikes shipped north. And plenty of Pat’s Canuck bucks trickle south to parts manufacturers for hot rod and custom components that keep his fleet of V-Rods primed and ready for high-performance riding. “All of my bikes are modified,” Pat says proudly. “Some are turbos, some are baggers. I just love them. This is a very versatile platform to work with.”
No doubt, and ever since Randy Aron developed his Cycle Visions bagger conversion kit for V-Rods a few years ago, we’ve questioned why the folks on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee haven’t followed suit with their own turnkey touring model. Think about it: the V-Rod has all the attributes for a user-friendly, long-distance bike. Its liquid-cooled Revolution engine is less prone to overheating than its air-cooled kin; the bike itself is rather lightweight, tipping the scales at a modest 600 or so pounds, depending on which V you hot-rod. And with a seat that elevates your butt slightly more than 2′ off the deck, anybody who can manipulate a throttle and clutch should be able to maneuver a Bag-Rod around town or in parking lots.
Pat picked up on this versatility a long time ago, and he has acquired all sorts of knowledge about V-Rods along the way. He’s a frequent poster on a V-Rod owners’ online forum. “I share what I can with other V-Rod owners,” Pat says. “I’ve even shared with them how to import a bike into Canada.” Like I said, this guy is doing wonders for our nation’s export revenue. Hey, maybe he’ll even win a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Stranger circumstances have led to recipients for this prestigious award.
Anyway, back to Pat Rod and his bagger Rod. No surprise, he wasn’t shy about tapping into Cycle Visions’ catalog for many of the components chosen. The Road Glide-based fairing attaches using Cycle Visions’ joints and brackets, and looking at Pat’s V-Rod from the rear, you’ll see there’s the patented CV rear fender and taillight treatment. Pat is quick to point out the cool features about the taillights, too. “These are designed as a 3-in-1 light: LED running, brake, and turn signal lights all in one. The rear saddlebag lights glow red for brake and running lights, and then change to amber for signals.” How cool is that? Pat tinkered with the instrument lighting, too. He picked up an instrument light kit from BlueGauges.com and ended up with red backlighting for all the instruments. The effects are stunning when the sun goes down.
Pat tapped Cycle Visions again for the saddlebags. Indent patterns account for shock absorber clearance so the bags fit nice and tight to the chassis, and fender fillers help maintain a clean appearance. The recessed license plate adds to the custom lines, and the package was sprayed black with Violet Pearl overlay by Wade Miller, who also laid down the flame job graphics and painted the inner fairing. The low Klock Werks tinted windscreen helps maintain a smooth and shapely silhouette.
Adding to the sleek look are a number of blacked-out components. Obviously the fairing and aluminum faux gas tank received their share of paint, and Pat called on Tyson Cox to black powdercoat various components that otherwise checked in from the Harley-Davidson factory with either a chrome or polish finish. Then, to bring out the Rod’s bagger side, Pat replaced the familiar dish front wheel with a more stylish hoop from RC Components, shaved off the right-side front disc brake to expose the wheel when the bike is parked and tacked on a set of Cycle Visions’ floorboards.
Now let’s talk about the bike’s heart and soul: the engine. This ain’t your average V-Rod motor, that’s for sure. The guys at the local Harley shop call our boy Pat Rod for a reason, and that’s because he knows how to hot-rod one of these Revolution engines. “I usually turbocharge these things,” reports Pat, “but I wanted this to be a regular engine.” Meaning, of course, that it’s naturally aspirated, yet still packing plenty of power. Tacking a turbo on the side is a rather straightforward procedure, and, done right, can be relatively inexpensive. But Pat chose a different, and perhaps more conventional, route for this build. The downside? “It cost me three times as much to build as without the turbo,” confessed Pat Step one for the pricey rebuild was to send the engine to Vance & Hines for a case rebore to accept the Falicon oversized cylinder liners and stroker con rods. Vance & Hines also breathed on the cylinder heads, polishing the ports and slipping in a set of oversized valves. The new displacement — 1430cc filled with CP pistons set at 12:1 compression ratio — makes this one of the largest V-Rod engine packages available.
The larger jugs require more fuel and air, so 58mm Fitzgerald Motorsports throttle bodies replace the stock system. The quartet of replacement camshafts are the Vance & Hines Race Performance series, with lifts at .492″ intake/.452″ exhaust. The back end of the power package includes a SuperTrapp exhaust. The net effect is an engine that seethes 155 hp.
Helping cap that power to the rear wheel is a Pingel shift-minder kit with Raptor shift light. The system works essentially like this: Pat presets the minder kit to automatically shift at a certain rpm (currently 8500 rpm), and when the tach registers said rpm, the shifter kicks the transmission into a higher gear. This eliminates over-revving the engine. Pat was already familiar with this system since he’s a crew member for Canada’s top Top Fuel drag racer Kevin Boyer.
Bottom line: the bike performs. “It’s a fast engine, but it’s also reliable,” beams Pat Rod. And that’s important. After all, the Mailloux must go through! AIMB
by Dain Gingerelli, photos by Bob Feather, staffers for Motorcycle Bagger magazine